In this new installment, MakerPlane spotlights another four stellar open-source aviation projects, delving into their objectives and contributions to the flying community. Dive in with us and explore their projects, and for the tech-enthusiasts, direct links to their GitHub repositories are available. 





Website | GitHub

Aim: Airball is aiming to help address the in-flight Loss of Control problem with a unique device and user interface concept. Going beyond the limitations of traditional airspeed indicators, Airball’s primary vision is to provide pilots with accurate data unaffected by regular flight variables like bank angles and aircraft load.

Overview: The core of the tech is a combination of hardware and software.  The hardware includes a probe, single board computer and a display.  The software takes the data from the probe that measures the relative wind direction and speed and creates user interface that translates the Angle of Attack into a simple display of a ball, hence the name Airball. The GitHub repository includes all code and hardware specifications.

The next-gen Airball design stands out as a fully integrated module, boasting on-board differential pressure, static, and orientation sensors. It’s powered by the Tensy 2 processor, equipped with a 32 MB data storage capacity. The device features standard 1/4″ OD connectors catering to pitot, AOA, and static inputs. At its core, an innovative algorithm tailors AOA measurements, ensuring adaptability across diverse differential pressure sensors. Check it out!





Website | Github

Aim: The objective of this project is the development of a panel mounted glide computer with a sunlight readable display, that can be non-commercially built by individuals or gliding clubs for very little investment. Interfaces allow integration of sensors and extensions at a later time.

Overview: An exploration into OpenVario’s initiative presents a rich array of resources dedicated to the OpenVario system. Their website contains a blend of in-depth technical documents, genuine user feedback, and shows the device in aircraft.

The OpenVario design stands as a fully integrated system, equipped with on-board differential pressure, static, and orientation sensors. The device also offers standard 1/4″ OD connectors, facilitating pitot, AOA, and static data inputs. Central to its functionality is a state-of-the-art algorithm for AOA measurements, which remains flexible to varying differential pressure sensor types.



Website | GitHub

Aim: XCSoar is a tactical glide computer originally developed for the Pocket PC platform. In 2005, the originally commercial software was given to the open-source community for further development and has constantly been improved since. It is now a multi-platform application that currently runs on Linux, Android and Windows devices.

Overview: XCSoar technology, as showcased on the XCSoar website, is a robust and pragmatic solution for glider pilots and soaring enthusiasts. The software, with its open source foundation, offers robust task planning tools, airspace visualization, and real-time weather updates. Using advanced algorithms, the software calculates optimal routes, harnessing available lift and analyzing potential hazards. Compatible with a range of devices, from dedicated flight computers to everyday smartphones, XCSoar democratizes access to top-tier flight analytics for pilots of all backgrounds and experience levels.



Website | GitHub

Aim: Suave is a conceptual level aircraft design environment built with the ability to analyze and optimize both conventional and unconventional designs. 

Overview:  Developed by Stanford University, it offers a comprehensive suite of capabilities for the design and optimization of aircraft and spacecraft, including aerodynamic performance analysis, mission analysis, and propulsion system integration. With a strong emphasis on open-source collaboration, SUAVE stands out as a valuable resource for researchers, engineers, and institutions seeking advanced tools to streamline and enhance their aerospace design processes.

Let us know about any other projects that we can highlight and bring to everyone’s attention.  We would love to find more open source aviation projects and information to share.  Maybe there are other hardware and software projects that we can talk about that might be useful in aviation?  Maybe you have a project that you are working on yourself that we could share with the community and potentially also generate interest and volunteers to help you out.